Braised green lentils w/ hot smoked salmon, ginseng, seeds and sprouts

French lentils are brilliant, very high in protein, iron, and soluble fibre. What’s more, these are grown locally by the Grain Family and available here at Harvest Market. Like anything grown outside of industrial agriculture, they taste and present better than lentils from the supermarket shelves. This dish can accompany beef, game or sausages, or a roast mushroom or char-grilled eggplant to keep it vegetarian.

The vegetables and stock enrich the lentil braise such that it can almost be a standalone meal. Add a poached egg on the side and you have breakfast, this dish today with the salmon is a perfect lunch/brunch affair (and would still be great with an egg if you choose!). Serve them alongside a braised lamb shoulder and some baba ghanoush and you have a share-table dinner that is certain to impress.

Today we’re serving the 41° South hot-smoked salmon alongside our braise. Another amazing and innovative product available here at Harvest. Land farmed on a small scale, everything I just said about the lentils applies to the salmon. Tastier, healthier, highly presentable and supportive of local business and our food economy. Tick, tick, tick, and tick.

We have chosen today to garnish our dish with the ginseng seasoning (also from 41°S) for that complex tang to round out the flavour profile, and a micro salad garnish from Eden Micro-Farm and Coronea Grove (whose oil we will dress with as well), to add crunch, freshness and roughage to round out the textural and nutritional profiles.

Happy Cooking!

Ingredients

  • Feeds 4
  • 300 grams French green (du Puy) lentils (The Grain Family)
  • 1 to 1.2 litres stock (purchased or you can make your own)  
  • Apx 50 – 60 gram chunk of streaky bacon (optional)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • Half a small celeraic
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 piece lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole 41° South hot smoked salmon
  • 1 tbsp Coronea Grove seed mix
  • Handful of Eden Farm micro greens
  • 1 tsp ginseng seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Coronea Grove olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • Finely dice the onion, carrot, celeriac and garlic
  • In a sieve, give the lentils a brief wash in cold running water
  • In a large heavy-based saucepan, fry the chunk of streaky bacon in the 3 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat until crispy and coloured on the outside.
  • Add the diced vegetables and garlic, turn the heat down and sauté gently until the veg is tender
  • Add the lentils to the pan, and half of the stock. Bring the pan to the boil.
  • Add the bay leaf, thyme and strip of lemon zest
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until most of the stock has been taken up by the lentils.
  • Continue to add stock in smaller quantities (about 100mls at a time) and simmer until the lentils are tender and breaking down a little.  – The good thing about these lentils is they retain a great texture when cooked. We don’t want mushy lentils, but we do want a properly cooked, homogeneous braise.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, transfer to a bowl (to stop the cooking), remove the bacon chunk and aromatics and set aside.

Then

Strip the skin from the hot smoked salmon. Using a knife, a spatula and a gentle touch, remove the first fillet from the fish. Do this by cutting along the backbone and peeling the fillet off the skeleton working from spine to belly. It should come away freely and in one big piece (although don’t stress if you break it a little!). Then, flip the fish over and, rather than removing the flesh from the bone, remove the bone from the flesh – peel the spine away from the fillet by grabbing the head and gently pulling away toward the tail. Break the flesh into big chunks, removing any fine bones, bloodline or skin as you go.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the seeds, sprouts, ginseng, olive oil and lemon juice.

In your serving bowls, place a portion of the lentil braise neatly in the center, place a generous portion of salmon chunks on tops, and garnish with the seed/sprout mix.

Et voila

Pro-tip: You will notice there is no salt in this recipe. That is because the lentils are seasoned by the bacon chunk, the salmon is seasoned during its smoking process and the garnish has the ginseng seasoning. So be careful if applying any additional salt during your cooking.

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